In Overcoming Ordinary Obstacles, Nesha Pai shows us how faith, forgiveness, resilience, and an impeccable sense of style can turn obstacles into opportunities. From overcoming racism and sexism to creating her own identity and building a business, this first‑generation American is a prime example of creating the life you want. Overcoming Ordinary Obstacles dives deep into the uncomfortable places in our lives. Ordinary obstacles are the things that intersect with our lives and push our ships into new directions and can have profound impacts on how we view the world, but on the surface aren’t life-altering, devastating events. Ordinary obstacles are the common threads that bind us together as humans, because it is in the pain that we connect the deepest and from the pain that we have the opportunity to change our trajectory to greatness.
Nesha Pai is the founder of Pai CPA, LLC, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her hometown is Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University in Raleigh and has held her CPA license since 1996. She began her career within the world‑renowned accounting firm Arthur Andersen and worked later within multiple, privately held Fortune 500 companies as a business consultant, relationship facilitator, and accounting analyst. Then she realized she had a passion for the small business and entrepreneurial sector.
Since starting her own firm in 2011, Nesha has continued nourishing her own passion and the business growth of Charlotte by creating Pai Networking Group in 2017 and launching a podcast series, Piece of the Pai, that focuses on allowing successful entrepreneurs to share their business insights. Nesha has been a Charlotte resident since 1993. Apart from her passion for entrepreneurs, she enjoys fitness, art, traveling, food, and being fashion forward.
We asked Nesha a few questions about her publishing journey and goals for the book.
Nesha on working with SPARK Publications
I needed the entire process, from strategy session to editing, to design, to distribution. The hand holding all the way through was beyond the value I received in exchange for the cost of creating the book.
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
It’s a really simple answer. The story of my journey has been on my heart for several years, and I was constantly sharing different parts of my own journey to help others work through theirs. I woke up one morning with this burning desire and thought, “I’m ready to do this. It’s time for me to put pen to paper.” What’s so interesting is that the last two chapters of my book really came from what I was going through at the time. It was almost like I was being told to write this book by a divine source.
Your book has been out in the world for a few weeks now. Describe the experience of being a published author.
I need a billboard in the middle of Charlotte with my big giant smile. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have woken up every day in January with the biggest smile on my face. No matter what’s happening, I’ve got this. My book has given me more joy and purpose than anything other than having my son. It literally is my second baby.
It’s been so magical for me. I’m just blown away from the response I’ve been receiving. People have told me they started crying in certain parts of it, or it made them want to self-reflect. I’ve been on cloud nine with it all.
A huge byproduct of this book is all the business I’ve gotten from it. I picked up three big new clients at the end of the year, and it’s because I’m getting out there. People are seeing me and my book. I can’t say enough about the process of working with SPARK Publications. My book is bringing positive attention to me, to my brand, and to my company. My clients have gained a newfound respect for me. I actually have to hire a new person to handle all the new business I’ve received.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
One of the main surprises was that I healed parts of myself that I did not know needed healing. Last year was painful for me; I was going through a really bad storm and a breakup. It was almost like I was meant to go through the writing process during that pain to be able to really get the creative emotion out. My whole life is different now. My mother and I have a great relationship, and I just wake up so happy every day.
The other big surprise has been the response from my unintended audience. When I sat down with Fabi for my strategy session, men, and especially white men, were never my intended audience. But I’m getting unbelievably good reviews from men—legitimate, unbiased reviews. It’s amazing.
How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?
Well, thanks to the editors of SPARK Publications, Wendy and Melisa, when I go back and read it, I’m like, “Damn. This is so well written.” I’m receiving feedback from people saying that my book is brilliantly written. The editorial team took my words and helped me to grow and expand the story in different parts, and when I go back and read it with fresh eyes, I am impressed by how beautifully they are put together.
SPARK Publications helped me take my 6,000 word brain dump and walked me through creating a beautiful product throughout the entire year it took me to write the book.
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Do it. A huge byproduct of this book is that I’m getting business. I’m not only getting noticed for my book, but also people are looking into what I do and reaching out. I call it a reverse demand. Just get the words out from your brain onto paper and meet with SPARK Publications to help you create a quality end product. I’ve gained a type of notoriety and respect as a business owner for writing this book. So if a business owner has an idea that they want to write a book and expand their personal brand, yes. Go for it. Do it. Through the help of SPARK Publications, writing a book will expand your business.
What does success mean to you?
Oh, this is a good one because big success is my word of the year in 2020. I know it’s two words, but I’m extra. My ex-boyfriend (Sam, from chapter 8) told me that the reason we were cutting ties is that I wanted big success and he didn’t.
And I asked, “What is big success? What do you mean by that?” Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not materialistic, nor do I want fame. I obsessed over the phrase “big success” for days. Since my ex wouldn’t tell me what he meant by it, I decided I would define it on my own. I realized for me, success or big success synonymously, is touching as many lives as I possibly can on this Earth in my lifetime, while continuing to be happy in my own life and finding a quality of life.
Whether it be through my book, through my business, through my podcast, through my networking group, through my relationships, I want to touch as many lives I possibly can and also be happy in living my day-to-day life.
Tell us about your future plans. What’s next for you?
I just had my first official signing outside of my book launch, and I’m excited to do more. My next goal is to do a signing at an independent bookstore in Raleigh. I’ve pitched to Oprah, and I’m going to keep pitching to Oprah. My PR person has gotten me so many great opportunities. She recently told me there was some interest from Southern Living magazine.